'Not your average cat': Video shows bobcat pacing through West Vancouver yard

A West Vancouver, B.C., woman who saw a creature stalk past her window said she knew right away it was something unusual.

Ashlea Spitz said she'd been in her office last Saturday when she saw it: pointed ears, a blur of grey fur, a stubby tail.

"I immediately knew this was not your average cat," she told CTV News of the encounter.

Wildlife sightings aren't unusual for the resident of a home in the British Properties neighbourhood that backs onto Brother's Creek. She's seen deer, bears, coyotes and raccoons – which she calls "the usual suspects."

But Spitz said she never imagined she'd see the animal that passed through her yard that day.

She said she ran to the front of her house to see if she could catch another glimpse, cellphone in hand to record video of what she was seeing.

Spitz quietly opened the door, and saw the large feline peering through one of her planters. What she was seeing, she later found out, was a bobcat.

"When he saw me, it appeared that he was going to head back into the woods behind her house," Spitz said.

"However, one of my dogs started to bark, and I think that is when he decided to turn and head back the other way. He quickly darted over to the neighbour's yard, where he disappeared into the brush."

Spitz initially thought it was a lynx she'd seen, a very similar looking animal that even experts confuse with bobcats. But her research suggested it was a bobcat.

"They tend to have a longer tail than a lynx, and their tails have a black tip with white underneath," she said.

"I was lucky to catch such a great clip of the whole body."

CTV News sent the video, which Spitz posted on Instagram to a zoologist and to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, both of whom confirmed her identification of the species.

"I couldn't believe my luck to see one in the wild. I didn't even know they lived around here," Spitz said.

Bobcats do live in some areas of British Columbia, including in the Columbia Valley, where there were several sightings this winter

Another encounter in the Ambleside area of West Vancouver was also caught on camera, this one in 2020. 

According to the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, bobcats can attack pets, so it's best if people avoid leaving any attractants outside and bring their pets indoors at night. 

Spitz had a similar thought, telling CTV, "While we would love to see him again (from a distance), I think it's fair to say that my little dogs would not want him anywhere nearby, as they would be a nice little snack for him!"

The Ministry of Environment asks those who see a bobcat to keep their distance, and to call the Conservation Officer Service if they aren't sure whether the sighting needs to be reported.